Public buildings in West Sussex are to benefit from the fastest and most reliable broadband connectivity as councils go ‘gigabit’.

Thanks to collaboration between the county’s local authorities, supported by funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, gigabit-capable broadband services are to be built in key urban locations throughout West Sussex.

The network will be built, owned and operated by CityFibre, the UK’s leading provider of wholesale full fibre infrastructure. With no reliance on copper wires, pure fibre networks are the next generation of digital infrastructure, capable of delivering unlimited speeds in both directions in excess of 1Gbps (1,000Mbps).

The councils are collectively future-proofing their digital connectivity to meet their public services’ future needs. The new network will provide fibre connectivity to key buildings at locations including Bognor Regis, Burgess Hill, Chichester, Crawley, Haywards Heath, Horsham, Littlehampton, Worthing and Shoreham.

Welcoming the contract with CityFibre to construct the network, Bob Lanzer, county council Cabinet Member for Highways and Infrastructure, said:

“All of us are enthusiastic about driving forward full fibre connectivity. I am delighted that in contracting with CityFibre we will have access to a bespoke optical fibre network that is designed, installed, supported and maintained for our public services.”

“By investing in full fibre infrastructure now, we are getting our buildings ready for the future, to benefit our public services, their users and our residents.”

The cutting-edge technology will ensure that the services and daily business of the county’s councils will be able to be more resilient, reliable and at less risk of delay or disruption caused by poor or limited connectivity.

Paul Brewer, Director for Digital & Resources at Adur & Worthing Councils, said:

“Gigabit broadband has the potential to be a real game changer which is why Adur and Worthing has been at the fore in bringing this exciting technology to West Sussex.”

“I’m delighted to see the consortium of West Sussex councils reach this stage. Once it is up and running, it will have a big impact on the delivery of our public services and, as a direct result, our communities as a whole.”

The government’s ambition is to accelerate the deployment of full fibre across the UK, to remain globally competitive and position the country as a front-runner in the race to mobile 5G technology, which requires full fibre backhaul.

Minister for Digital Margot James said:

“Our programme will deliver a tremendous boost to broadband speeds for the councils of West Sussex as part of our £190m full-fibre challenge fund. Initiatives like these are transforming the digital landscape of the UK, helping us to build a Britain that is fit for the future.”

Rob Hamlin, Commercial Director at CityFibre said:

“We’re delighted to have been chosen to deliver the Government’s first ‘Local Full Fibre Networks Programme’ project. The LFFN provides a powerful mechanism for local authorities to attract full fibre infrastructure investment. We look forward to using this project with West Sussex as a model for roll-outs in towns and cities across the country.”

The infrastructure will be built at sites managed by WSCC and includes public sector buildings put forward by each District and Borough Council in: Bognor Regis, Burgess Hill, Chichester, Crawley, Haywards Heath, Horsham, Littlehampton, Shoreham and Worthing.

Frequently Asked Questons – FAQs:

Why do we need full fibre broadband infrastructure?

The Government wants to increase the amount of full fibre network covering the UK. Currently around 4% of premises in the UK have access to the fastest speeds which travel all the way into buildings over pure optical fibre network. Around 2% of premises in West Sussex currently have access to full fibre network.

Public services are evolving and in the future will be delivered in new and digital ways. This will require faster download and upload speeds, greater bandwidth and increased reliability and resilience. By investing in full fibre network now, we are getting our buildings and our services ready for the future.

What will West Sussex Gigabit do?

The project is ‘future proofing’ our public sector estate with full fibre infrastructure ready to meet anticipated public service needs. It will build new network in key urban locations at buildings owned by councils. We hope that other public services such as schools, NHS buildings and emergency services will also benefit by choosing to invest in and grow the full fibre network.

Will gigabit full-fibre broadband be built into homes and businesses?

At the current time this project is for public sector services in order to improve delivery to all local tax payers. Primary attention will be devoted to ensuring front line customer services are more creative, efficient and cost effective for all local residents using services of the county council, district and borough councils.

‘Superfast’ fibre broadband speeds of more than 30mbps are currently available in more than 95% of the county. The county council is working with BT/Openreach and central government to deliver a £30 million programme of investment in publicly-funded broadband infrastructure. Find out more on the:

When will the new gigabit broadband services be ready?

CityFibre will begin building the full fibre infrastructure from August this year. We expect that new services will start to become available in 2019, but it may be sooner.